U.S. Congress repeals meat labelling law

OTTAWA -- A potential trade war between Canada and the United States was all but averted Friday when Congress passed a massive spending bill that also repealed a controversial meat labelling law.

See Full Article

The 2,000-plus pages of legislation contained a two-page rider that scrapped the U.S. labelling law, known as COOL, which had become a major irritant among Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The legislation now only needs a signature from President Barack Obama.

The World Trade Organization granted Canada and Mexico the right to impose $1 billion in punitive tariffs on various U.S. products after finding that the country-of-origin labelling provisions on beef and pork products violated international trade rules.

Canada and Mexico argued that the measure was nothing more than thinly disguised protectionism. Supporters said consumers have a right to know where their meat comes from.

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay both welcomed the passage of the legislation, calling Friday "a great day for Canada."

"This is a real vindication of the power and significance of the WTO dispute-resolution mechanism, which has secured a real win for Canada," Freeland said in a teleconference call from Nairobi, where she and MacAulay were taking part in a trade conference.

"This is a decision that will have a real and immediate benefit to the Canadian economy."

Freeland said she expects the labelling regime will disappear quickly.

"We will be monitoring the situation to make sure there are no problems in this area," MacAulay added.

The ministers thanked Canadian diplomats and some American politicians and industries which supported doing away with the measure.

The Senate had been the last barrier because domestic political interests kept some senators opposed to repealing the law.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the Republican chair of the Senate's powerful agriculture committee, expressed relief Friday at the news. Roberts said the retaliatory measures would have been damaging to various sectors of the U.S. economy.

"From the ranchers in Kansas to the jewelry makers on the East Coast, every state had something to lose from keeping mandatory COOL intact," Roberts said in a statement.

The WTO ruling, the latest in a series that Canada won in the dispute, cleared the way for widespread retaliation.

The targeted U.S. products included not only agricultural ones such as cattle, pork, apples, rice, maple syrup and wine, but extended to non-agricultural products, such as jewelry, office chairs, wooden furniture and mattresses.

Freeland said Canada still intends to obtain formal approval next week from the WTO for retaliation, even though the tariffs won't be imposed.

"We think that it is prudent of us to take the legal process to its formal, technical conclusion," she said.

On Friday, the Senate voted by a 65-33 margin to approve the massive bill that included $1.14 trillion in new spending in 2016 and $680 billion in tax cuts in the decade to come.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Angry French famer block Champs-Elysees in pesticide protest

    Economic CTV News
    PARIS -- Angry French farmers are blocking Paris' famed Champs-Elysees in a protest against the government's agricultural policy. Sections of the normally pristine avenue were smothered in straw as about a hundred demonstrators brandished placards such as "Macron is killing farmers" and stopped morning traffic from passing Friday along the busy artery. Source
  • Angry French farmers block Champs-Elysees in pesticide protest

    Economic CTV News
    PARIS -- Angry French farmers are blocking Paris' famed Champs-Elysees in a protest against the government's agricultural policy. Sections of the normally pristine avenue were smothered in straw as about a hundred demonstrators brandished placards such as "Macron is killing farmers" and stopped morning traffic from passing Friday along the busy artery. Source
  • Tim Hortons accuses disgruntled franchisees of leaking confidential info, breaching contracts

    Economic CBC News
    A group representing frustrated Tim Hortons franchisees says its board members have been accused by the company of helping leak confidential information. The Great White North Franchisee Association says its board members have been served with notices of default. Source
  • L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt dead at 94

    Economic Toronto Sun
    PARIS — Liliane Bettencourt, the L’Oreal cosmetics heiress and the world’s richest woman, has died at her home in a chic Parisian suburb. She was 94. Bettencourt’s daughter, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, said in a written statement Thursday that her mother “left peacefully” overnight in Neuilly-sur-Seine. Source
  • Higher prices for gasoline and airfare help push up inflation rate to 1.4% in August

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's inflation rate increased by two ticks to 1.4 per cent in August as transportation costs such as gasoline and airplane tickets got more expensive. Statistics Canada reported that transportation costs rose by 2.8 per cent in the year up to August. Source
  • Canada's annual inflation rate rose to 1.4 per cent in August

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The country's annual inflation rate continued to accelerate last month with a boost from higher costs for gasoline, hotels and airline tickets. Statistics Canada said Friday inflation hit 1.4 per cent in August -- up from 1.2 per cent in July and a two-year low of just one per cent in June. Source
  • Tim Hortons franchisee association accused of leaking information

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - A group representing frustrated Tim Hortons franchisees says its board members have been accused by the company of helping leak confidential information. The Great White North Franchisee Association says its board members have been served with notices of default. Source
  • Trump commerce secretary says new study proves need for NAFTA changes

    Economic CTV News
    With the next round of NAFTA negotiations set to begin in Ottawa, U.S. President Donald Trump's commerce secretary says a new study proves the need for tougher rules on auto-parts imports in the continental trade agreement. Source
  • Uber to lose its licence to operate in London

    Economic CTV News
    London's transport authority said Friday it won't renew Uber's license to operate in the British capital, arguing that it demonstrates a lack of corporate responsibility with implications in public safety and security. Transport for London says the car-hailing app was not “fit and proper to hold a private hire operator license. Source
  • Mastermind Toys expanding even as Toys 'R' Us flounders

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Jon Levy's favourite playthings as a Toronto child growing up in the 1960s and 1970s included Lego blocks and fort-building kits -- classics that still fly off the shelves of his Mastermind Toy stores today. Source